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Bafana jet in for opener

by Staff reporter
01 Sep 2021 at 06:26hrs | Views
BAFANA Bafana are expected to touch down in Harare today ahead of Friday's Group H 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe with only one injury concern in their 23-member squad.

The Trans-Limpopo rivals lock horns at the National Sports Stadium, with the hosts' squad depleted by the refusal of British clubs to release players called up citing Covid-19 rules that require people that travel to red zone countries to quarantine for 10 days on their return.

The Warriors and Bafana Bafana are in the same group with Ghana and Ethiopia. Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos said the Mamelodi Sundowns' defensive midfielder Mothoni Mvala has a groin strain and will be subjected to a late fitness test.

Kaizer Chiefs' defender Njabulo Ngcobo has received a late call-up, an indication that the Bafana Bafana coach wants cover in the event that Mvala doesn't recover on time.

The Warriors' opponents seem to have had flawless preparations as all their players reported for camp on time, with Denmark-based forwards Gift Links and Luther Singh all joining the Bafana Bafana bio-bubble ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

By lunchtime yesterday, Zimbabwe were still waiting for Lamontville Golden Arrows striker Knox Mutizwa and AmaZulu midfielder Butholezwe Ncube to report for camp. Mutizwa was a late inclusion into the Warriors squad, as a replacement for UK-based McCauley Borne.

Clubless midfielder Ovidy Karuru and defender Jimmy Dzingai have been axed from the readjusted Warriors' squad.

Broos admitted at a press conference on Monday that he is fortunate to have had all players he called up in camp, as none of them plays in the UK. He said the unavailability of Warriors' defensive midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, right-back Tendai Darikwa, Borne and US-based central defender Teenage Hadebe will not affect their planning.

"I've heard news that their players from England are not coming, whether they are there or not, that will not affect our planning. Besides tactics, mentality will be important. Being the first game, it is important to have a good result. We want a very good fighting mentality going to Zimbabwe. I think we have to be prepared for an aggressive opponent," said Broos.

Newly appointed Bafana Bafana captain and goalkeeper Rowan Williams predicted a tough encounter.

"What we want as a team is success. We're focused on the World Cup qualifiers and we want to start on a positive note. There's a lot of rivalry between ourselves and Zimbabwe. From the time the draw came out, there's been lots of talk about this game. We know each other very well.

"Three quarters of their team plays in South Africa; they know us, but it's a new ball game. We've beaten them before, they have also won against us in the past, but this is a new game altogether," said Williams.

Zimbabwe will look to experienced goalkeeper Washington Arubi, left-back Onismor Bhasera, defensive midfielder Marshal Munetsi, forward Khama Billiat and strikers Tino Kadewere and skipper Knowledge Musona to get the job done against Bafana Bafana.

SQUADS

Zimbabwe

Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants), Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars), Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF)

Defenders: Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United), Divine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Godknows Murwira (Dynamos), Kelvin Moyo (Nkana), William Stima (FC Platinum)

Midfielders: Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune United), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV), Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims), Tafadzwa Rusike, Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United), Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Perfect Chikwende (Simba SC), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu), Ishmael Wadi (JDR Stars), Farai Madhananga (Marumo Gallants), Silas Songani FC Platinum), Knowledge Musona © (Al-Tai)

Strikers: Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates), Tinotenda Kadewere (Olympique Lyon), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows)


South Africa

Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (Supersport United), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs).

Defenders: Sydney Mobbie (Mamelodi Sundowns), Rushine De Reuck (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel),Thibang Phete (Belenenses FC, Portugal), Thabani Dube (Kaizer Chiefs), Sibusiso Mabiliso (Kaizer Chiefs)

Midfielders: Sipho Mbule (Supersport United), Teboho Mokoena (Supersport United), Mothobi Mvala (Mamelodi Sundowns), Yusuf Maart (Sekhukhune FC), Ethan Brooks (TS Galaxy), Njabulo Blom (Kaizer Chiefs)

Strikers: Thabiso Kutumela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Maritzburg United), Gift Links (Aarhus GF, Denmark), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC), Victor Letsoalo (Bloemfontein Celtics), Percy Tau (Al Ahly SC, Egypt), Luther Singh (F.C Copenhagen, Denmark)

Source - chronicle